Blithe Spirit is an ‘improbable farce in three acts: a charming and lightly supernatural comedy about a man whose deceased first wife comes back from the spirit world to live with him. Charles invites the mystic Madame Arcati to hold a séance in his living room in order to research the tricks of the medium trade for his new book. But a challenge to his scepticism appears in the elegant form of Elvira, his first wife – an apparition that is invisible and infuriating to Charles’s second wife, Ruth.
As the departed spirit settles into the house, Charles finds himself in the middle of a spectral cat-fight between the acid-tongued Elvira and the fiercely jealous Ruth, Elvira’s invisibility to everyone but Charles resulting in some of Coward’s most delightfully sharp dialogue.
Blithe Spirit proved an ideally escapist entertainment when it was first produced in 1941: flippant and careless enough about death and yet funny and sturdy enough to be a constant source of joy and hilarity to theatregoers for the rest of the war.